As parents our time is stretched thin! How can we give our children the attention we want and teach them the skills they need while getting anything done around the house? Good news. You don't always have to put your child in front of a screen in order to check off your to-do list at home. We can teach our children an abundance of language skills while they help us cook and clean. In fact, children sometimes LOVE to feel that they are big enough to help out. Here are some ways to get those household tasks done while teaching your child some important speech and language skills!
1. Cleaning up Toys
Turn clean up time into a game! Have your child toss their toys into the toybox or bins where they go. Take turns doing this and practice saying "my turn" or "your turn". With younger kids, say the word "in" or "bye-bye!" as you put each toy in a container. On your child's turn, he or she may imitate that word! Practice following directions by naming an object for your child to put away (like their ball). Older children can practice categorizing. Put out a few containers and ask him or her to put their dolls in one box, toy food in another, etc. Sing a song as you clean to make it a fun activity!
2. Emptying the Dishwasher
Older children can help and practice organizing items by categories. Show your child where to put the cups, spoons, forks, etc. Ask your child "where" questions such as "where do the spoons go?". Talk about opposites. For example dirty/clean and wet/dry.
3. Cooking Dinner
Allow your younger child to stand on a stepstool in a safe area of the kitchen to watch and help you cook dinner! Focus on location words such as in, out, on, off as your pour ingredients in or put food in/take out of the oven. Let your child help with some of the tasks like mixing or pouring and describe those actions out loud!
4. Folding Laundry
Laundry can seem to be never-ending in a household with kids! Let your kids do their part AND learn important speech skills! If your child has trouble pronouncing certain sounds, exaggerate that sound in words that come up. For example, show your child how your tongue tip goes up to the roof of your mouth when you say words like laundry, look, and like. If he or she has trouble making the "sh" sound, practice it in words like shirt, wash, and shake.
Talk about how to take care of the grass and plants and let your child help out! Give him or her a watering can for the flowers and plants. Use describing words like dry, wet, colorful, pretty, big, and short and ask your child how everything feels, looks, and smells!
Household tasks can create wonderful leaning opportunities for kids. Not only can you check off items on your To-Do List, but your child can have fun and learn language while helping you!
Amy Yacoub, MS, CCC-SLP | Speech Pathologist
Proud Member of The Story Box Family